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Cheesy comforts

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Hopefully the weather will begin cooperating with us soon in Buffalo, but until then, we take comfort in a couple of cheesy recipes – mac-n-cheese and mozzarella sticks.

This stovetop mac-n-cheese, adapted from this recipe by Erica Lea on Buttered Side Up, is quick, simple and warm enough for cold Buffalo nights or just a quick meal any time of the year.

Stovetop Mac-n-Cheese

· 8 ounces pasta of choice

· 6 tablespoons butter or margarine (note: if you’ll be warming leftovers up in the microwave, you may want to cut this back a tablespoon or two – there was a lot of butter left over after warm-up!)

· 6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese

· 3 tablespoons cream

Cook pasta according to package instructions and to your preferred softness. Drain the pasta and return it to the pan. Add butter to the pasta while hot and cover the pot to allow butter to melt a bit. Uncover, add cheese and cream, and stir. Put the lid back on and let it sit, stirring every couple of minutes (note: it will take about 6 to 8 minutes for the cheese to become “saucy”). Serve immediately, storing leftovers in the fridge. To reheat on the stovetop, add a little more cream to the pot. To reheat in the microwave, put the leftovers in a microwave safe plate or bowl and heat at 70% for 75 to 90 seconds.

As a side or as a snack, this unusual take on mozzarella sticks from Tara McConnell at temp-tations ovenware – they’re wrapped in dough and baked until gold brown.

Pizza Stone Mozzarella Sticks

· 8 mozzarella string cheese sticks

· 1 package refrigerated crescent rolls

· Dried oregano or Italian seasoning for top

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Freeze string cheese for at least 30 minutes. Unroll crescent rolls and separate, then place a cheese stick in the middle of each one. Fold dough over cheese stick until covered, sealing as best as possible. Transfer to a pizza stone or baking sheet with parchment paper, and garnish with oregano or Italian seasoning. Bake for 12 minutes, until golden brown, and let sit for 3 minutes before serving.

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